Strikingly

Strikingly is a relatively new entrant to the field of stress-free website building. 

You may have noticed a trend online for single page websites - ones which present content in a long, scrollable, format.  Strikingly does that for you, and very well indeed.

If you are looking for a compact and professional web presence, which you can put together in minutes, without any knowledge of coding or the inner workings of web design, then this is worth a look.

Registration is free and fast.  You then have a selection of excellent templates to chose from.  All of them are filled with dummy content so you can get an idea of how they will look and function once you replace that with your own material.  What is very useful here is that there is a good degree of customisation ranging from swapping predefined colours across the template, to adjusting fonts and images.

All of the ‘mechanics’ are taken care of so your site will scroll smoothly between pages or you can use simple navigation ‘buttons’ to jump to specific sections.

Editing is remarkably simple - just click on a text box and type.  Click save and the site updates.  Images are equally easy to deal with - again simply click on the image you want to change and drag a new one into your browser window, or select any of the editing tools to crop, resize or adjust.

Pages in the template can be reordered using ‘drag and drop’, you can rename them, hide them from the navigation menus or delete them.  There are also a whole rage of extra pages you can include, edit and rearrange.

The finished sites display the calm and sophisticated presentation we now expect from professional presentations.  Images and text  ‘slide and fade’ into place as you scroll.

Multiple Views - getting noticed


All the sites made with Strikingly are responsive and automatically adjust themselves to display well on desktop monitors, tablets and phones.  You can test these views with a single click and make any adjustments needed immediately.

Google recently changed its ranking system for websites to favour mobile-friendly sites (April 2015) and that is what you will get if you use this system without having to worry about it.  There are also some valuable setting options to help make your new site visible to search engines.

Packages

When you consider that all of this is free and with such a level of elegant design detail, it makes it an excellent choice.  Your free account gives you an unlimited number of sites (which even in this world of ‘fremium’ business models is unusual.  You also receive 5GB of monthly Bandwidth which is enough for most people to start.  Your web address would be www.yourname.strikingly.com

If you would like to use your own domain name (see our guide here) you can upgrade to a paid version with extra bandwidth and services.  This is around $8 per month or, if you buy two years up front it drops to $7.00.  Their top of the range package costs $16.00 per month or $14.00 for two years and for that you get unlimited bandwidth, removal of the Strikingly name from your sit and other facilities.  Switching plans seems an option they are happy to support (with some restrictions)  and if you have a college email address you can get 3 months of the top package for free.

We tested out the free version, used the image and text editors, changed pages, moved them around and can honestly say it is one of the simplest and most elegant systems we have used.  You can see what we put together in a few minutes at www.welikeartists.strikingly.com

If you need a professional, modern and functional site, which is simple to launch and update, then visit www.strikingly.com



A Manifesto

Strikingly has a manifesto which suggests a level of interest and support not normally found in online businesses.  We have included their main comments here as they connect remarkably well with those of our own site and suggest a respect for the creative individual which appears to go beyond the ‘hard sell’.

  • We believe that every human being is by nature creative and entrepreneurial.
  • We believe that everyone should have an equal opportunity to turn their ideas into reality.
  • We believe in the promise of the Internet to empower everyone.

We were a little unsure just where to categorise Strikingly as it is actually a single page system and we do have a category for that, but based on the fact that this is more sophisticated website builder we have included it in websites.

Gumroad

If you need to distribute digital items such as e-books, video, sound or pdfs, Gumroad is an excellent platform to start.

It works like a giant digital shop where you can very simply upload your item, set up a sales page for it, decide how much to sell it for and then just let the world know.  Gumroad deal with all the technicalities - take payment then deliver your item to your buyer.

Their payment section is exceptionally simple - one of the simplest and cleanest we have seen and the nice thing is you can give things away for free.  Just set a price of $0 Zero and visitors can download your material without charge.  If there is money involved they take all major credit cards and charge you 5% plus a 25cent transaction fee.

You can set up special offers, discount codes as well as limiting product sales (for limited editions for example)

There is also a nice option for your potential purchaser to give what they feel is a good price (pay what you want).  Gum road don’t charge a monthly fee or registration so you can be up and running very quickly.

Of the past year they have honed and developed their site.  They now offer a system to rent items (which is good for video/film), you can embed sales pages in your website or blog and they keep a useful range of statistics and analytics so you can see how is downloading and buying.

We have been using it for a while now to manage one of our free e-publications.  We just distribute the web link for the page and visitors can download the item free of charge.  If you would like to try it you can use this link

https://gumroad.com/l/PressGuide

(just add $0 (zero) when you get to the payment screen and your e-publication will be delivered to your email address immediately.

Or use the button below which Gumroad generate for you:  

Download for FREE

A nice touch is that you can arrange (by ticking a box) for your digital item to be ‘stamped’ with the buyer’s information. In our e-publication, which is dowloaded as a pdf file, the buyer’s email address is added to the top of the document so, if they had purchased it and started redistributing it (or reselling it) you would be able to see that. It isn’t an issue for us as we are giving the item away for free but it is a nice personalisation touch never the less.

 

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